360 Sport Sedan — By Richard Thiel — September 2002
|Part 2: With a top end of nearly 35 mph, the 360 has a nice turn of speed.|
Since the galley has no overhead cabinets, it also affords a great view, yet there's stowage aplenty in under-counter cabinets. A sink and a two-burner stovetop occupy the forward athwartship leg, leaving the outboard counter for workspace. The refrigerator is aft and is an apartment-size, side-by-side Nova Kool that Carver says offers 20 percent more volume than undercounter models.
Three things are noteworthy about this interior. Thanks to nicely done cherry joinery, it has a classier appearance than you might expect. It's covered in 65-ounce nylon carpeting that, whatever your opinion of carpeting aboard may be, feels nice underfoot. And there's an unusual amount of standard equipment for a boat in this class, namely the saloon TV, DVD player, and two-zone air conditioning.
Engine access is through a centerline saloon hatch, and things below are generally well-placed and accessible, with one exception: The oil fills for the gasoline V-8s were right up against the overhead, so you've got to remove floor panels to add oil. The batteries are in a nice wooden box ahead of the starboard engine, but its lid is screwed down, hardly conducive to regular checks. On the other hand, despite the fact that this boat has a compact V-drive engine configuration, the shaft logs under the mains are visible and accessible. Moreover, the catwalk between the engines, which covers the waste tanks, is carpeted. It looks and feels nice, but if you're ambivalent about carpet up top, you'll shudder at the thought of it in the engine room. It's secured by snaps, so it's easily removable.
The one place Carver compromised to get that interior space is the cockpit. At six feet long it's a little small for anything other than maybe four people sitting. A lazarette below offers stowage, although it's mostly taken up by the freshwater tank and optional genset, which thanks to its remote location is virtually inaudible from the living spaces. Access to both side decks from here is via port-side molded-in steps, and it's both easy and safe to get forward thanks to effective nonskid, a sturdy, high bowrail that extends well aft, and handholds on the house sides. The foredeck is nearly flat, and the Maxwell windlass there is standard, another notable exception.
No spatial compromises are apparent on the bridge. It has seating for at least six (and drink holders for at least eight) in three pedestal seats and an aft bench. Sightlines forward and to the sides are good, but not so good aft. Our test boat had the enclosure in place. Visibility might be better with the aft curtain removed.
The one feature where you might expect the 360 to give up something in exchange for her volume is handling--tenderness due to a high profile. Admittedly, I tested her on a dead-flat river in a mild breeze, but I noted no tenderness in hard turns and switchbacks where you might expect it to show itself. She does have quite a hump--a maximum of nine degrees--while planing, but you can ameliorate that by adding about half tab, then taking it off once she's leveled out. With a top end of nearly 35 mph, the 360 has a nice turn of speed, although her twin 375-hp V-8s are thirsty. However, if you can temper your need for speed, she has a relatively efficient cruise at 3500 rpm, where she makes 28 mph and 0.85 mpg.
She's also pretty quiet, partly because of underwater exhausts, a type of system I rarely see on boats in this size range. The only sounds you hear at speed are from the engine air intakes, water, and wind, and at slower speeds she's whisper quiet.
The Sport Sedan line may be a new venture, but the things that make Carvers so popular--good value and superb space efficiency--remain. To them the company has added standard equipment and upgraded interior fitments. When you consider that, there's really no magic here, just a knowledge of what boaters want and how to deliver it.
Carver Yachts Phone: (920) 822-3214. Fax: (920) 822-8814. www.carveryachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2002 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.